Location, demographic, lifestyle and behavioural influences on household participation in Bournemouth Borough Council’s kerbside recycling scheme

Stephanie Rooke


Bournemouth Borough Council (BBC) is performing well in recycling and currently has a recycling rate of 63.9%, but there is still room for BBC to improve the efficiency of the existing ‘Big Bin’ dry kerbside recycling collection scheme and increase the recycling rate further.  The aim of the study was to identify the socio-economic groups which participate the least, or contaminate the most, in BBC’s kerbside recycling scheme.  A participation survey was carried out over three consecutive collection cycles for three recycling rounds ‘RW1, RW2 and RW5’ to measure how many times each individual household set out their recycling bin for collection.  The results from the participation survey were used to calculate the participation rate (PR), set out rate (SOR) and contamination rate (CR) for the different socio-economic groups in Bournemouth.  The PR’s, SOR’s and CR’s of the affluent, intermediate and deprived socio-economic groups were also compared.  The overall PR for the three recycling rounds surveyed was 96.2% and each socio-economic group had a PR above 90%, a SOR above 79% and a CR below 4.4%.  There was a significant difference between the socio-economic group's CR’s, with the affluent groups having lower CR’s compared to the deprived groups.  This study highlights which socio-economic groups BBC should target where improvements to the scheme will have the most impact. Note: Bournemouth Borough Council was awarded highly commended as local authority team of the year at the National Recycling Awards 2012.

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